I went to a Neurologist bc I am getting frequent headaches. I have suffered from headaches in general for years (Not too bad), but have been having more frequent headaches and they are less responsive to advil. I got blood work through him. Everything was normal except I tested for a slight Vitamin D deficiency and tested positive ANA. My ANA was homogeneous pattern 1:160. This is freaking me out. The Dr told me to take Vitamin D, Magnesium and Aspirin and start a headache journal and see him in a month.
Some back ground on me:
-31 years old Male.
-Take Lamictal, Zoloft and Concerta
-I am in physical therapy for foot, hip, and shoulder pain. I seem to have soreness in these areas that don't go away as well as they should.
-I get sick more then average.
So how serious is testing positive on ANA? Is there a connection with that and frequent headaches? I don't have the skin issues I am reading about with Lupus. Any insight is greatly appreciated. Thanks
There is a possible connection with chronic headaches and a positive ANA. The headaches are usually of a migrainous nature, but not always. The joint or muscle pains you have may also be connected. ANA is measured in titers (ratios) where the serum gets diluted in half at each level. So the typical range of positive results goes like this, with the bottom number doubling each dilution: 1:40, 1:80, 1:160, 1:320, 1:640, 1:1280 and so on. You occosionally see levels above 1:1280, but most people fall in the first 5 levels at the lower end. ANA can fluctuate, so next time it is tested it could be higher or lower. Most clinicians regard a 1:160 titer "clinically significant", meaning that it isn't borderline or a possible false positive. There are many many symptoms of lupus as well as the related autoimmune disorders. One cannot make a diagnosis based on one test, but I would certainly follow up on this and have more tests related to this done. Rheumatologists are the Drs who delve into the diagnostic process of lupus and other autoimmune diseases. Everyone's symptoms are a little different, and most people have a few that predominant their clinical picture. There are several other tests that can be done to clarify this, and in the meantime, I would read about it, including the sticky notes on the lupus board here, BUT keep in mind there is a wide range of severity from very mild to severe, and most fall into the mild-moderate range of severity. Kudos to your neurologist who even thought to test for this! Many people with lupus are Vit D deficient, partially because they avoid the sun, which may exaccerbate the headaches and other symptoms. Please provide follow up when you find out more. There are good people here who can help you!
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Just a PS-some drugs can cause a positive ANA or induce a lupus-like illness as a side effect. I would research your 3 drugs with that in mind, as drug related ANAs usually have a pattern of homogenous, which appears smooth and diffuse rather than speckled or clumpy for example, when the antibodies and antigens react on the slide with your blood. I would look at Lamictal first. Most drug related positive ANAs turn negative after the drug is discontinued. Some people with drug induced lupus have anti-histone antibodies in their blood, so I would definitely ask for that test to be done (a blood test).
Last edited by ladybud; 01-31-2013 at 10:08 AM.
Reason: correction, plus added info
Thank you so much for the reply! I really appreciate this. This came out of left field so I am still trying to understand all this. I am suppose to go back to the Neurologist in a month. Do you think I should wait and see if he wants me to get further blood work or just see a Rheumatologist?
Hi. I'm sorry you're struggling. Adding to what Ladybug wrote about certain drugs & a positive ANA, here's a tad more. I've read that the autoantibodies associated with this situation, drug-induced lupus, are anti-ss-DNA and anti-histone. (This differs from the usual findings for "classic" lupus.) So if you do see a rheumatologist, you'd want the widest range of antibodies possible to be looked for.
You can have lupus without having lupus-specific rashes. The lupus board has a sticky post (permanent info post) with 11 criteria. To be diagnosed with the "systemic" form, you generally (not always) must meet 4 or more of the 11---so this means you could meet the minimum # without any having to do with skin.
Did your neurologist also do urinalysis? That's important in lupus---other conditions, too.
While there are conditions other than lupus that can cause a positive ANA, I'd probably try a rheumatologist first, if I were you, b/c of the joint pain. Anywya, let us know how you're doing. Wishing you the very best, Vee
I had responded before, but think my post didn't transfer. Anyway, I'd go ahead and get an appt with a rheum. They can take a few weeks just to get in to see them. Why wait? If it is your meds causing this, you want to deal with that and let this resolve, helping you feel better faster. Good luck and keep in touch.